Robert Earl Keen rocks house for Ski Team concert | ParkRecord.com
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Robert Earl Keen rocks house for Ski Team concert

MATT JAMES Of the Record staff

Folks were dancing on Wednesday night at Harry O’s. That night, the Park City Ski Team hosted a show featuring West Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen and his band. Two-thirds of the proceeds from the show went to benefit the Ski Team.

Plenty turned out to support the team’s cause, nearly filling the venue with Keen fans who seemed to range from 21 to 60.

Following Motherlode Canyon Band’s opening set, Keen took the stage with his band around 10 p.m. and, after a quick hello to the crowd and plug for the Ski Team, moved right into his music, a blend of West Texas country, rock ‘n’ roll and alt-country backing Keen’s Western ballads and sharply worded songs.

From then on, the concert might have taken place in Texas, with the crowd rocking along with Keen’s lyrics about family, the road and living life in the West.

With Rich Brotherton playing lead guitar, Bill Whitbeck on bass, Tom Van Schaik manning the drum kit and Marty Muse plying the pedal steel, Keen and his band offered a tight set focused on entertaining the audience.

Keeping the tempo quick, and urging on the dancers in the house, the group rolled through a wide-ranging set with a few songs from Keen’s newest album, "What I Really Mean," and many from a bit deeper in his catalog.

Some of the selections included "Feeling Good Again," "I’m Coming Home," "Five Pound Bass" and "Christmas with the Family." The audience sang along with those songs and nearly all of the ones Keen chose taking over for the singer whenever he asked.

Throughout the evening, Keen kept the mood light, never talking too much and moving through his songs and keeping the crowd’s toes tapping.

The treat of the evening came near the end of the show, when Brotherton came on stage to wish Keen a happy birthday and the audience had a chance to serenade the singer.

Keen closed with an encore that included "Farm Fresh Onions" and one of his most enduring numbers, "The Road Goes on Forever (And the Party Never Ends)." The band played the song with a quick beat and nearly everyone in the audience seemed to shout out the chorus with smiles on their faces.

After the show, Keen took a spot by the door of the venue, signing t-shirts, CDs and posters for anyone willing to wait a little while and offer a handshake. His effort fit perfectly with Keen’s outfit an everyman’s long-sleeve T-shirt and jeans, topped off with a baseball hat and he seemed happy to do the duty, meeting his fans and doubtlessly nearly all seemed to come away happy.


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